Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Indie Publishing - Part 5: Advice from a Successful Indie Author

Author Clayton Wood is one of my own inspirations for choosing to publish as an indie author - rather than going the route of pursuing a traditional, printed publishing house. When his first indie novel, Runic Awakening came out on Amazon in October 2016, he was in his own words, "flummoxed" by its success. It would be followed by three sequels, as well as a second fantasy-fiction series. Most of his books are offered in eBook, print, and audiobook editions.

Clayton Wood's latest installment, Runic Revolt came out in August 2018, the fourth installment in his "Runic" series. It was launched as both an eBook and in paperback.

Like many other successful indie artists, Mr. Wood has his own website and blog (, Facebook page (, and Twitter account ( All of these social media tools help to build a following and to market a new book - and are tools which any indie author should be availing themselves of.

Mr. Wood also promotes his work at a couple of annual book conventions, including the World Fantasy Conference, and Readercon (last held in Quincy, MA in July 2018). Book conventions can be an invaluable way to connect to your readership, and have fun at the same time. They also involve a certain travel expense, however, which not every aspiring author can necessarily cover.

When asked to provide advice for other, aspiring authors, Clayton Wood highlighted the following:
"I can offer a few observations from my experience as an indie author. The first - and most important - consideration if you want to sell books is to write books that lots of other people want to read. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to 'sell out,' but it does mean you have to consider your audience. A book about the intricacies of copper vs. PVC pipe fittings will have a smaller audience than a YA fantasy novel, which will have a smaller audience than a good romance novel. So don't expect to sell a lot of books if you're not appealing to a relatively broad audience. You can write the book you want to write, but that doesn't obligate others to read it! 
"The next consideration, after writing a book lots of other people will want to read, is to put out the highest-quality book you can. Edit it over and over again, or hire a professional editor. Get trusted people to read it and provide feedback. Then hire a professional to do the book cover. Book covers are the first impression of your book; if it looks amateurish, people will assume the book is amateurish. If it doesn't fit the genre, people won't recognize that your book is in the genre they like. Book covers that are really cool but not genre-specific won't attract readers as well. That's why all romance novel covers look pretty similar...readers see it and they know exactly what they'll be getting from it. 
"The next consideration is the book description. Your cover and title will make people click to learn more, and your description is your sales pitch. If it's bad, you won't sell books. If you're an indie author, you're not just an author. You're an advertiser, a salesman, and a publisher. You have to learn additional skills to sell your book. Throwing your book out there and hoping for the best is unlikely to work. 
"And expect to fail at first. Runic Awakening, the first book in the Runic series, sold 46 copies in the first month. Then it sold 700, then 1,000. After experimenting with ads, it started getting over a million Kindle Unlimited page views a month, with a profit of $6-7k per month. 
"That said, expect sales for each subsequent book in a series to be a fraction of the previous. There's about a 50% falloff in sales with each sequel, and that's not abnormal. Price the first book very competitively, and it'll serve as a sales funnel that will draw more readers into the series. I priced Runic Awakening at 99 cents, Runic Revelation at $2.99, and the third and fourth books at $4.99. 
"Finally, some books will do better than others. There's a great deal of luck involved in having a successful book launch. But the things you can control, you should control. Write great books that tons of people can enjoy, then use marketing to bring those readers to your books!"
Clayton Wood's road to success as an indie author provides an exceptional example for how to successfully carry out a book launch for both a new title, and for a continuing series.

No comments:

Post a Comment